Reporting Bill Hudson
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s the scene that many fear: invasive Asian carp spreading up the Mississippi and leaping at the slightest disturbance of a passing boat. Now, there is evidence that they are closer to the Twin Cities than we previously thought.
Fourteen of 49 water samples taken between Fort Snelling and the Ford dam test positive for the silver carp’s DNA. While no actual fish have been caught, those efforts will be stepped up.
Luke Skinner works on invasive species for the Department of Natural Resources.
“It’s always disconcerting, but it’s not totally unexpected. It further highlights that Asian Carp are on our doorstep and we need to take action to stop their spread,” said Skinner.
Earlier this summer, the carp’s DNA was also found in the St. Croix River. Clearly, the destructive Asian carp are on the move, and pressure is mounting to stop them.
“This is a big decision in front of us and I don’t think we know quite enough,” explained Congressman Keith Ellison.
One plan to stop the spread would shut down the St. Anthony Falls lock and dam. But limiting river commerce would have some economic impact and requires congressional action.
“Time is of the essence because if we find the DNA samples, it won’t be long before we find a live fish,” said Ellison. “Then we got a real problem on our hands.”
With each passing day, the problem gets more expensive and tougher to solve.
“I think this is our one opportunity,” said Skinner. “If we can close the lock and dam like this and we test and find no fish above St. Anthony Falls, then this is the one opportunity to really prevent the spread upstream.”